Bibliotek: Nanograph Two

Posted on 08/08/2011 by

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Nanograph Two

The Wild Kids jeered as Christian ground his suspension boot into the other teen’s ribs.

“I told you not to collaborate on our turf, Gav.”

Gavin replied by sign, twisting in agony—and if anyone there had been fluent in pain, they may have appreciated his poetry.

“Teach him what we think of freelancers, guys.” They all laughed cruelly once again, and Christian moved away to the side, letting his gang descend.

The Wild Kids were supposed to be the only street movement in west London, tagging their narrative over the walkways and streets in day-glo ink. Christian watched as Helen cracked Gav’s fingers, each stained in that same, trademark pink.

It was actually only a pretty good guess that the new text had been by Gavin. But then, who else? The fonts didn’t match the Kid’s style. They’d been more like Gav’s old group—the Inklings—who’d been erased by one of the other movements. Christian didn’t know by who, and didn’t care. That’s why Gavin was alone, his group had been destroyed. Christian had let him hang around, but not actually brought him in. And so this is my reward for my munificence?

Christian didn’t enjoy doing this to the other teen, but they had a reputation to uphold. The Kids were tough, right? An exclusive gang. A few more shows, however, and he and a select group of Kids that could get signed to a House. But he knew that the Houses only cared for them if they’d proved they were hard men. Dangerous street movements sold text access, brought in the wannabes, and all the hot little derivatives… Christian had to turn away, not wanting to be seen to be leering over a beating. Man! I’ve worked for that pussy, he thought triumphantly, then looked back at the scrum of Kids, why’d you have to go and fuck with me, huh?

Gavin screamed—just once. “Let up, guys.” Christian said, “he’s learnt his lesson. Haven’t you?” He leant over the groaning mass. “Sure he has. I don’t want to see any more of you, right? Certainly no cheeky verse about this beating.” The boy shook his head gently, and Christian knew that he’d see nothing of the sort.

“Dump him home, and make sure he’s still breathing when you leave him, ok?” Murder wasn’t going to be his rap. Not if it didn’t have to be.

A couple of the Kids took off with Gavin, and the others stayed with him to help plot-line. They had a show coming up, and their excerpts had to be perfect.

Down at the Reading Room a week later. Christian would have been more comfortable down at the Cat, but the Houses tended to give that place a wide berth—he gave his Dentata GrinTM. The rep twisted his glass on top of the table awkwardly… yeah… Christian loved that discomfort, that’s why they called him ‘Pretty Mouth.’

“If we make it down then, you’ll be ready to show for my Editor?” The other man finally spoke.

Christian nodded, what more could he tell this guy? “We’re ready for it.”

“I’ve seen your work, but this is big leagues, and you’ve only got one chance in front of him.” Like this guy knew pressure? Sat there in his tweed.

He had been dealing with this guy, Manuel, off and on, for a few months, since a mutual ‘something’ of theirs’ had passed him a card. Christian figured he was supposed to be impressed. An ‘Agent’ —go-between for Authors and Houses.

“We won’t embarrass you, Man’.” The Agent always pursed his lips at such flagrant displays of punning, as if to say, ‘you’ll have to do better than that.’ “Seriously.”

They shared a long, understanding look. “Watch the Series on here tonight, Christian, I want you and your Kids to drill on their technique. I think it’ll help you smooth your transitions.”

The Kids were tight. They were back at the Room, ready to work, and Christian went out back to throw up.

The club shared a green room with the food court next door, so his dinner was returning home. His mouth was still full of black bean flavoured saliva. He spit a whole mouthful of savour, simple precursor to his vomit.

He’d eaten quickly, and the bites were still recognisable. He looked at it as his sternum stopped spasming. Better relief than sex. He spat bile and sighed.

“Think that he’s done yet?” There was a laugh. He turned on his toes, to find two figures there waiting on him. The quiet one said, “You’re a hard man to find, Christian.”

Shit! They were there for him? Christian had enemies. He bolted, bashing straight against the cubicle and off of the woman in twisting, optical tartan who had spoken last. Christian was fast, but she moved with an incredible speed, catching him by his jacket.

“Calm down, you idiot.” She hissed, keeping a hold of his lapels. “You think either of us want them to know we’re meeting together?” Christian was pushed back into the pen of the toilet. The woman spared a glance at her second, who signalled ‘clear’ from the sidelines. “Jesus.”

Christian was rigid. Why the fuck had he come out here alone?

“Stop it. Your ‘friend’ will try and kill us all if they know we’re here.”

“Fuck! What? I’ve done nothing!”

That time, both the attackers had laughed. “Now you have. You’ve met us. That was your first mistake.” Christian had no idea what that meant, but he stayed quiet.

“Good. Don’t make another. We have an offer for you,” she paused, and Christian didn’t know if it was in remorse, or recollection, “and you better think it over more than those Inklings did…”

End Nanograph Two

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By Paul McLaughlan

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